• Firstly, all the companies taking part in the 13 week ANZ Innovyz START business accelerator program owe a huge debt of gratitude to the boundless energy and hard work put in by the head of the program Jana Matthews, without whom I doubt any of it would be happening. Adelaide is not exactly famous for its entrepreneurial scene!
• Secondly, the best part would have to be the mentors. We met some truly amazing people, ones that had worked with Richard Branson, others that had sold companies to Google, or were working in Microsoft, Cisco, and other big companies. All of them gave us their time and wisdom, and without them we’d be weeks if not months further back.
• Thirdly, we re-learnt the lesson, hire slow, fire fast. As a two-man team (having lost our founder), the program was always going to be tough (they make three man teams a minimum requirement, and rightly so). We were working like demons to keep up with the other teams, and we were kind of managing it, but when we got a third member, who turned out to be more of a third wheel, it really cost us big time.
• Fourthly, and kind of obviously, we experienced the value of an accelerator program. It’s hard to quantify the value of it, but I’d guess, based on my past experience, we are at the stage a company would be at after a year of business, but it only took us 13 weeks to get there.
• Finally, we met some amazing teams on the program.
It was great to be surrounded by other teams going through the same stuff. Not only were they great people, but we all helped each other whenever we could.
For me, the best example is our business card. The company name was thought up by Jono Birkett from Memtell, the logo by Luca Hohler from the Italian games company BrokenArmsGames, and the layout of the card was inspired by the feedback of Cameron Bolam from Kicktone. In isolation, we’d have had a crap name, a weak logo, and an uninspired card. With the help of the other teams, we have a kick ass card.
I’d also say that the friendly rivalry between the teams helped all the teams drive each other forward. When one team nailed a two-minute pitch, the rest upped their game. When another team made a lovely slide deck, we all upped our game. When one team ordered a lovely 2 metre tall banner, off we all rushed to get ours done too!